Ind. Attorney General: Lawsuit filed against Evansville company involved with robocalls
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Attorney General Todd Rokita has filed a lawsuit against an Evansville company that he says acted as a gateway into the United States for robocallers in India, the Philippines and Singapore.
He says the company, Startel Communication LLC, was owned and operated by Wanda Hall and Abhijit Chowdhury.
Rokita says the robocallers made more than 4.8 million phone calls to Hoosiers and hundreds of millions of calls to other states across the United States.
He says the robocallers operated a variety of scams, including IRS and Social Security Administration imposter scams, legal action or arrest scams, computer support scams, Apple support scams, and Amazon subscription scams.
“Hoosiers are sick and tired of being harassed by illegal and unwanted robocalls, and Kathy and I are two of them,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Just as I promised, we will stay on the offense in our efforts to protect Indiana consumers and bring these people to justice.”
The suit also includes two California companies — Piratel LLC, which Rokita says routed 3.1 million of the robocalls, and VoIP Essential LLC, which he says routed 1.5 million of the robocalls.
Rokita says both companies knew Startel was sending robocalls, and they were each paid more than $100,000 to look the other way.
Of the Hoosiers who were called, Rokita says more than 780,000 of them were on the federal Do Not Call Registry and more than 605,000 were on the Indiana Do Not Call list.
The lawsuit alleges the companies and individuals committed millions of violations of federal and Indiana law, with potential fines in the billions.
Attorney General Rokita offers the following tips to avoid scams and unwanted calls:
- Be wary of callers who specifically ask you to pay by gift card or crypto-currency (Bitcoin). For example, the IRS does not accept iTunes gift cards.
- Look out for prerecorded calls from government agencies you were not expecting. Typically, the IRS and SSA do not call people.
- If you suspect fraudulent activity, do not provide any personal information and end the call.
- Contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-888-834-9969 or email@example.com.
- Add your number to the Indiana Do Not Call List at https://www.indonotcall.org/
- File a Do Not Call or Text complaint here: https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/consumer-protection-division/file-a-complaint/do-not-calltext-complaint/
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